Canadian Running

Behind the Lens


Photograph­er and videograph­er Matt Cecill has shot Fat Dog a few times (he also won it in 2014), and it’s always worth the challenges. “When I started running and photograph­ing races, he recalls, I had boundless energy for going to these events and capturing the energy that I found to be so contagious.”

Fat Dog still has that energy, but with it come great logistical challenges. “The point-to-point nature makes it horrendous­ly difficult to organize,” Cecill admits. “Typically, I bounce around the course a lot: I try to capture the human element of ultra, more like a documentar­y than standard race photograph­y. I spend a lot of time in aid stations, shooting interactio­ns between runners and crew and volunteers, getting the content that’s between the lines.

“A lot of factors that I’m worried about are not really on anyone else’s radar. For example, there are only so many places I can get to on the course, and racers will be spread hours apart. I have to be careful about picking my spots. You have quite a while between runners, so you need to really nail the shots that you get the opportunit­y for, otherwise you end up just sitting there for longer than you need to in one spot, without getting any content.”

And of course, with 48 hours of racing comes a lot of darkness. “In photograph­y, the early morning and early evening light are the best, so you want to make sure that at those times of the day, you’ve really chosen your spot carefully,” he says. “And at night, that’s another challenge. I’ve experiment­ed a lot: aid stations are a good spot to hang out in the dark, because there’s artificial light. I’ve definitely been on top of a mountain with a big light box trying to warn runners that I’m going to set off the strobe. But I also play with long exposure stuff using a tripod and playing off runners’ headlamps. You just have to be willing to experiment.”

 ?? ?? Ihor Verys after his win at the 2022 edition
Ihor Verys after his win at the 2022 edition
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